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A Rising Man: A Novel (Wyndham & Banerjee Mysteries) Hardcover – May 9, 2017
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"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
For the first time in paperback, from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him. | Learn more
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"A vibrant and powerful debut.", Seattle Times
"Winner of the Harvill Secker Daily Telegraph crime writing competition, this stirring, entertaining first mystery bursts with lively, colorful historical details about colonial Calcutta. The developing relationship between Wyndham and Banerjee is a delight. A fine start to a new crime series that will attract readers of M.J. Carter and Tarquin Hall.", Library Journal (starred and Debut of the Month)
"British author Mukherjee’s outstanding debut and series launch combines a cleverly constructed whodunit with an unusual locale—Calcutta in 1919—portrayed with convincing detail. The nuanced relationship between Wyndham and his Indian assistant adds even more depth. ", Publishers Weekly (starred)
"This checks pretty much every box in our ‘should we read this mystery?’ checklist. First, it launches a new series. Second, it's set in the past in another country, in this case Calcutta in 1919. Third, it was a hit overseas (in London). Fourth, the trades (Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, etc.) have praised it. Fifth, is enjoying enthusiastic support from early readers. Sixth (and this is a new one for us), it features a character known as ‘No Surrender’ Banerjee, which seals the deal.", BookFilter
"A marvelous new historical crime series. ", Book Riot
"The novel is filled with fascinating historical detail, intriguing crime, and a minefield of political pitfalls the characters must navigate. Both Sam Wyndham and Surrender-not Banerjee are two creatively developed characters who are more than capable of carrying readers through Calcutta for many books to come.", Criminal Element
"A crime novel that is, quite simply, enormous fun. Wyndham’s next assignment can’t come soon enough.", The National (Abu Dhabi)
"With a sly authorial wit, quirky characters, and historical details that anchor the story to its steamy, exotic locale, this debut novel is the first in what looks to be an entertaining new series similar to Barbara Cleverly’s Detective Joe Sandilands mysteries (especially The Damascened Blade, 2004).", Booklist
"[A] splendid debut...and his hero, Captain Sam Wyndham, is a winning creation.", The Times (London), Crime Book of the Month
About the Author
- Item Weight : 15.2 ounces
- Hardcover : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 168177416X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1681774169
- Product Dimensions : 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Pegasus Crime (May 9, 2017)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #725,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Captain Sam Wyndham is an attractive main character, who learns about Bengali Calcutta as he hunts a murderer and a train robber. Mukherjee gives the reader a wonderful look at 1919 Calcutta with the politics of the Indian independence movement butting heads with the complacent British Raj. What Sam learns, the reader learns. as well. The supporting characters are well drawn and interesting. I'm looking forward to Abir Mukherjee's newest novel in the series.
Again, this has the potential to be a very good series.
This first case for Wyndham begins with the discovery of the body of a white sahib in a neighborhood where he should not have been, especially after dark. Why was Alexander MacAuley murdered and what should the police make of the note found stuffed into his mouth? The deeper Wyndham digs the closer his case comes to stepping into the territory of the infamous Section H, military secret police.
The different culture, geography and historical time period all combine with well defined characters to make this an intriguing and enjoyable reading experience. I'm looking forward to the second book in the series.
Also, it's just a great read; I'm looking forward to the second of the series.
Top reviews from other countries
In a sweltering city, Sam tries to find his bearings, he does not buy into the mythology and hype that the British are superior and more moral than the natives. However, he is more than capable of lapses of judgement and display a casual racism, particularly towards the symbolically named Surrender-not. He observes the Little Englander attitudes of Colonel and Mrs Tebbit and others at the Guest House he is staying in, the lower middle classes who live immeasurably better lives in India than at home, with their social circles that exclude the natives they consider so inferior. Then there are the powerful, operating under the Rowlatt Acts that allows them to act as they please with no form of judicial justice, acting with impunity when it comes to killing locals. The stench of brutality and hypocrisy from the British, the nature of sexual relations with Indian women, the greed and the economic exploitation is laid out clearly. The fractures of British rule become deeper fissures with the massacre of unarmed men, women and children in Amritsar which the British try to cover up, but knowledge of it spreads like wildfire amongst Indians. As Sam investigates, all is not as it seems as he faces unseen forces manipulating his inquiries, that Section H, the military secret police, are interfering with justice, and that as he continues to pursue the truth, he wades into dangerous waters with the knowledge he may not live to tell the tale.
The research carried out by the author is detailed and impressive. Calcutta and India are beautifully described and the narrative is drenched in atmosphere, capturing the dominant prejudices and attitudes of that time. Whilst justice is not seen to be served at the end of the novel, what arises is the ability to sway decision making marginally for the better. The highlight of the novel is the complexity of the relationship between Sam and Surrender-not. The tensions within India are replicated in it, whilst Sam is flawed, he comes to recognise the invaluable source of help his sergeant provides, including that of saving his life more than once. Sam's dogged determination and his attempts to be moral in his pursuit of real justice make him a compelling personality with a desperate need for opium, a Brit trying to do the right thing in the face of enormous obstacles. Sergeant Banerjee is the face of India that sees the possibility of home rule coming and is unconsciously preparing for it by acquiring the requisite skills. This is an outstanding historical thriller, and the period and location makes it a riveting and gripping read. Highly recommended! Cannot wait to read the next in the series.
The book describes how Sam investigates the murder of an English civil servant who has close ties with a wealthy ex-pat jute baron. He also becomes involved with Annie Grant, a beautiful mixed race girl, although he had been broken hearted by the death of his English wife Sarah in the 1918 flu epidemic.
I was kept interested in both the mystery and the cultural setting. I was startled by a couple of anachronisms, though. The book is set in 1919. Sam describes how he is attracted by Annie's nice legs - but in 1919 skirts were still long - the most he would have glimpsed would have been an ankle! Even more jarring is the part when Sam sums up what he has learned of the case in 'bullet points'. I'm not sure when bullet points were first used, but they don't suggest 1919 - surely they are part of computer terminology!
Nevertheless, I'd like to read more of Sam's adventures, and hope to hear more of Annie, too, but hopefully with her costume details more accurately researched.
I liked the setting. Calcutta doesn't get as much fictional attention as I feel it deserves amongst novels set in India and it's always a colourful location. I was happy to learn of the connection between Dum Dum bullets and Dum Dum airport (nice little nugget of trivia there) but I did think some of the more basic historical research had been missed in places. Other reviewers - especially those who live in India - have commented that a lot of Wyndham's language was rather too modern for 99 years ago, that Anglo-Indian Annie was perhaps a bit too modern in attitude and behaviour, and that Wyndham seemed to hit the ground knowing rather a lot for a man just a couple of weeks on the job.
I'm the kind of Scrabble player who when faced with the letters W, O and G is never going to play anything other than OW or GO so the frequent use of the a word that Amazon won't even let me put into my review might have been culturally fitting to the time but still felt unnecessary. Off colour comments about the Irish and Scots were also pretty frequent. I'm guessing Abir Mukherjee thought he could get away with the W-word because he's clearly of Indian origins (I don't think Barbara Cleverley would ever have dared!) and knocking the Scots was easy for him as he is Scottish born and bred.
I enjoyed the book, didn't find the plot entirely believable and felt the 'reveal' depended a lot more on Banerjee than on Wyndham, but it was still a nicely paced book that promises a lot for the books that follow.